Budget "guts" send schools scrambling - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Budget "guts" send schools scrambling

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - They say things are worse now than they've ever been. "Scary" is how one East Texas school official described the state of the state budget crisis.

So much so, lawmakers and local districts alike are leaving nothing off the table to absorb the nearly 10 billion dollar hit that's expected down the pipe.

We're talking so desperate, some districts may not be districts at all anymore.

Under one proposed bill, some school districts would be grouped together under one big county district.

No schools would be closed, but Superintendents, school boards, and other administrative positions would be streamlined to save money.

Gladewater ISD Superintendent is partly taking matters into his own pocket.

"You're still going to have to service kids, and I don't see how it's going to make an impact in cutting that much," says Gladewater Superintendent, J.P. Richardson.

The school board approved his self-proposed 5% pay cut, Monday night.

"I just don't think, if your employees aren't going to get a raise, then you shouldn't get a raise either," Richardson explained.

Forty jobs are frozen at Gladewater ISD. The district could lose close to 2 million dollars.

Today, they're rolling out $60,000 in resignation incentives. Staff members who plan to resign at the end of the year could get $2000 if they let the district know early.

Richardson explains, "If somebody knows that they may be leaving and they can help the district out, right now before we possibly have to let employees go, this will help alleviate the problem."

Tuesday, February 15, is the deadline for Henderson ISD staffers to take advantage of their resignation offer.

Human Resources Director Stacey Sullivan says 10 Assistant Principals contract extensions are currently on hold.

"What we're trying to do is make sure we're thinking things through before we make firm decisions… We want to continue to operate the district the best that we can, to meet the needs of our students," says Sullivan.

If they can.

"They're not cutting, they're gutting," says Richardson.

It's not known how much money Texas House Bill 106—the School District Consolidation bill, will save the state.

The State Budget Board is expected to do a cost analysis once lawmakers set a hearing date on the bill.

What do you think about State House Bill 106? Post your comments at the bottom of the page.

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